Why ignoring fire safety is dangerous - and costly!
The vast majority of professional property managers take fire safety in the blocks they manage extremely seriously. And rightly so. A case just heard in Leeds Crown Court is a valuable lesson for anyone who is responsible for the safety of residents - and shows what can happen when fire regulations are flouted.
Property manager Niche Homes Ltd is one of three firms, including building owner Trinity Developments Ltd and contractor APP Construction Ltd, to be heavily fined for breaches of fire safety legislation at a student accommodation block in Leeds. A total of £670,000 in fines was settled on the three companies by the court, with the property manager paying a hefty £60,000.
A father who was dropping off his daughter spotted some serious fire safety issues at the Trinity Halls building and contacted West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Inspectors found a range of safety breaches that were so dangerous they temporarily closed the block down.
Here's what they found:
- A locked fire escape, leaving only one escape route for the whole block.
- No fire escape signage.
- No self-closing devices on fire doors, which could have led to fire spreading through the building.
- Students living on the ground floor of the building while construction was still in progress, with exposed timbers and storage of other combustible building materials posing a potential fire risk.
Prosecutor Cassie Williams said the lack of safety measures on the upper floors could have resulted in the building collapsing should a fire have broken out in the block. And Judge Mairs commented that the breaches were so obvious, even someone with no technical fire safety background could spot them immediately.
The safety failures at Trinity Halls were described as having the ?potential for catastrophe?. Post-Grenfell it is astounding and completely unacceptable for residents in any block to be left so exposed to fire risks. At Ringley, resident safety is always uppermost in our property managers? minds. So if you or any of your neighbours spot something you think is potentially dangerous, please don?t ignore it. Report it to your block manager straight away and we will resolve the problem. Your safety is our priority.
Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
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